Friday, March 16, 2012

We're Doomed

I've been thinking about my what happened yesterday, and about what I wrote yesterday. I'm still legitimately bummed out about giving up political discussion on Facebook.

I really want to find a place where I can have a level-headed discusion about politics. Part of that desire comes from an interest in my state and my country. I want the society I live in, and that my kids will live in, to be successful. I want it to be the best place to live in the world, and a place where the "American dream" is more than just a phrase that politicians use to get elected.

But another big part of what attracts me to politics (as a topic) is just the absurdity of the whole system; especially the partisan antics, the lies, the pandering, the misdirection, etc. Election year is like the Super Bowl of social engineering and, like a train wreck, I can’t take my eyes off of it.

It BOGGLES my mind how people just accept their brand of partisan politics at face value. No, 'accept' isn't the right word... they embrace it and regurgitate it as often as they can and with as much fervor as they can muster. It's just... frustrating, disappointing, and overall perplexing.

It seems that for some people the partisan devotion runs so deep that it overpowers their ability to think freely and react appropriately to innocuous political conversation. The partisan mind is a minefield of knee-jerk reactions. If you say anything unflattering about their a person's favorite candidate or anything that could be perceived as diverging from their party's ideology then you risk being labeled their enemy, and as their enemy it's automatically assumed that you'll passionately defend the opposing viewpoint. It goes a little like this:

Bob: "I don't know about Joe Democrat, some of his views seem a little backwards to me"
Jim: "Oh, yeah! Like Bill Republican is sooo perfect! Why don't you go run over some homeless people in your hummer? Scumbag!"
Bob: … um… *head explodes*

Or, turning the tables:

Bob: "I don't know about Bill Republican, some of his views seem a little backwards to me"
Jim: "Oh, yeah! Like Joe Democrat is sooo perfect! Why don't you go run over some unborn babies in your Prius? Scumbag!"
Bob: … um… *head explodes*

The political climate in this country is such that level-headed discussion of political topics is impossible. It *can't* be done. I want so badly to be able to just talk about some stuff, share my observations, get some opinions, etc. without people bringing emotions and preconceptions into the conversation.

I'd love to get to a point where I could say "Yeah, I know a lot about a select few issues; enough to be confident in passionately defending my opinions about them" Unfortunately I don't see any way to get to that point. All the avialable information is biased, and all of it disputed. In effect, all the inputs are bad. How do you get good outputs from bad inputs? You can't.

There has to be something more to be said about these issues, and if people were encouraged to talk about them, debate them, then maybe we could make some progress towards a consensus. Probably not, but at least we'd be trying, and at least we would all understand the issues a little better. But that’s an unrealistic vision. Talking about politics only has one guaranteed result: it will piss people off. That's all you can reasonably expect to get out of it. It’s a shame.

This is the realization I came to yesterday. It's the reason I sterilized my Facebook wall. I'm not venturing out into the minefield again. I'm accepting that no amount of neutrality or disclaimers or civility can offset the insanity that is partisan politics. I will keep my thoughts to myself, like nice people do. Thinking is hard anyway, and I wouldn’t want to impose on anyone. :\


  1. Politics for a lot of people seems to be about finding someone who agrees with one of your ideas, and then agreeing with everything else that person says. I guess I can't entirely blame them, who has time to thoroughly research the wide variety of issues encompassed in politics?

    This is why I don't think people should consider it their civic duty to vote, or otherwise take part in political discourse. Right? Yes. Civic duty? There are plenty of people who would do everyone a favor by just staying out of it. If your strong opinion is based primarily on what someone else is telling you it should be, then admit that you have no opinion and leave that particular decision to people who do (there are a number of blanks on my ballot. I figure that if I'm not prepared to have an intelligent discussion of the issue or of the candidates, then I'm not prepared to contribute to the decision either).

  2. I don't venture into politics because I can never be educated WELL enough for my liking. It's kind of the stance I have on Religion too. I know about my religion, I believe it, I love it, that's that. I'm not going to push it on anyone else. *shrug*

    Mostly what USUALLY irritates me about politics at this point in time (meaning this happens, every major election year, I was this way in 2008 too) is that I'm SO SICK of hearing about it, and hearing the same things and hearing about it on the never ending CNN that we have on, or on the internet and overall It just seemed to be one perspective or the other (Camera A or Camera B, both fuzzy and out of focus) and It makes me just bummed out. SO yeah. I just kind of get impatient about talking about it. If political coverage started a year in advance to the election maybe I could care more. Mostly-- I think it's over rated.